Walk-ins are what we call it when we attempt to find an animal (with telemetry) to the point of seeing it or finding the tree, rock, log or any other place it might be. As the name suggests we end up walking in to the location where the fisher is hanging out. Generally, we do this when we think a fisher is stationary and resting or, in the spring in a den tree, and so we reduce the chance that the fishers will run away from us while we track it. We do walk-ins for a number of reasons, such as:
- To identify when and if a female has selected a place to den.
- To identify fisher rest trees.
- To find fecal samples.
- To find the remains of animals that fishers have killed.
- To locate dead fishers.
Walk-ins are straight forward in principle but can be difficult in practice. The signals we follow to find fishers can bounce off canyon walls or trees and cause confusion. As you near them the strength of the signal becomes stronger. This necessitates adjusting the telemetry receivers while being very slow and meticulous.
Walking in on animals also disturbs them from their normal activities and may stress them. Thus, we do not walk in on every fisher every day especially when they have kits in the den. So, even though we view these data as extremely valuable (and fun and exciting to get) we try and limit walk ins to 1 or 2 a month on any one fisher.